A year in collections: looking back at 2022

16 December 2022

What a year 2022 has been! And who would have thought we could ever be surprised again after experiencing life during a global pandemic?

In this packed year:

  • The UK has had three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors
  • The Lionesses finally brought football home
  • Birmingham hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games
  • Speaking of which, the Head of the Commonwealth, our dear monarch Queen Elizabeth II passed away after 70 years as our Head of State
  • Maybe the biggest worry for people has been the rise in energy prices to unprecedented levels
  • The Bank of England (BoE) base rate of interest went up 3.25 percentage points (the highest rate since October 2008), and Nationwide’s House Prices Index shows a month on month drop in house prices from March 2022 to present, with the biggest drop since June 2020 (-1.4%) hitting in November 2022. Naturally, the BoE base rate increase has driven an increase in mortgage rates and the nervousness and uncertainty in the private rented sector has driven an average 10% increase in rents.

So, what have been the hot topics within collections and recoveries specifically? Here’s what might have caught your attention this year:


Importance of reinforcing professionalisation and training

In challenging times, and especially in a brave new world of hybrid-working / home-working, it is important to reinforce the basics and build on them, such as the need for professionalisation and training to ensure good outcomes for customers and compliance with regulation.

We’ve seen more great work from the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) in setting and delivering professional standards, as well as the ongoing benefits of adopting the Credit Services Association’s (CSA) Code of Conduct. Just also wrote about the benefits of market integration to incentivise enhanced performance across multiple suppliers.


Benefits of collaboration and partnerships

In March, Just held an event at the House of Commons, hosted by The Baroness Meacher, which saw experts from government come together at the House of Commons to look at the impact of the affordability crisis and how the government’s Debt Resolution Services framework can help public sector organisations, while still delivering good outcomes for people and businesses.

We don’t just talk the talk when it comes to advocating income maximisation (although we did talk about it in this blog!), we also walk the walk by providing a benefit and budgeting calculator (check the button at the very top right of this page) as part of our own process.

However, as the year marched on and the economic position got gloomier, it became clear that this tool in isolation just wasn’t enough. At the Credit Strategy Collections & Vulnerability Summit, we presented a whole raft of other services that can be used to support customers and increase the chances of the client getting paid, including repayment optimisers, rent deposit reducers, admin burden minimisers, and literacy and numeracy improvers.

As energy prices continued to soar amid what was shaping up to be a cold winter, we decided to set up a regular round table discussion with our sister company Arum, and Future Leaders. It brings together utility businesses in the UK, to cross-pollinate best practice and give some exposure to leading-edge developments in the sector.


Achieving balance and fairness

Much is made of Treating Customers Fairly and rightly so, but who is looking out for the people to whom the money is owed? The interconnectedness of the economy is ever more apparent when it is under stress. We need:

  • Healthy individual finances to pay taxes and buy goods and services
  • Healthy business finances to pay taxes, buy and sell goods and services, and employ people
  • Healthy government finances to support people and supply public services

At Just, we have always been mindful of the need to maintain a fine balance and we believe that you deserve to get paid, but not at any cost. This led to us setting out our thoughts on how to achieve fairness for clients and customers alike.


I think it’s fair to say that we’ve lived through some extraordinary changes in our industry over the last couple of decades, but what we’re seeing now is a significant acceleration in the pace of those changes. It feels like we’re riding the bow wave of the pandemic and that we’re not going to see it subside much for at least a couple of years. All we can do is arm ourselves with enough up to date information to make quick decisions in the face of rapid evolution.

By applying market integration to the enforcement industry, Just has been able to leverage data and deliver improved outcomes for both customers and clients. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your current and emerging challenges.

Steve Coppard
Group Director of Debt Policy and Strategy
Just and Arum

About the author


Steve has been in the debt industry since 2001. He spent most of his career working in government, where he started on the phones collecting VAT debt and ended up being responsible for prompting improvements to the management of over £40bn of public sector debt. He joined Just and Arum in May 2022 where he continues to shape the biggest conversations in the debt market, having been recognised as an Influencer on the Credit 500 list for a number of years. Credit Management Magazine recently called him one of the industry’s genuine thought leaders.